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Report: Liverpool 2-1 Spurs

Posted on 28 October 2002  - 12:00

English Barclays Premiership

Another fine display at Anfield, but another fruitless one.

But for Michael Owen's late intervention, we'd have been talking about arguably our best away performance in the Premiership under Glenn Hoddle.

Liverpool are unbeaten domestically since we toppled them at the Lane in April, look like moving to the next stage of the Champions League and now top the Premiership by four points.

Yet we matched them in every department - passing, movement, strength defensively, creativity and a draw was the least we deserved. To come away with nothing hurt everyone.

So the performance might have won a lot of admiration from most observers, not least in the press box, but once again didn't win any points. The general consensus from the players was they'd rather play poorly and win.

With Gus Poyet for Matty Etherington as our only change from the win against Bolton, we looked assured in a relatively quiet opening period.

Liverpool just edged the possession but excellent defending, with the robust Dean Richards the pick, made sure half-chances turned into nothing more.

Indeed, Jerzy Dudek made the first telling save after 22 minutes. A fine stop it was as well as Jamie Redknapp zipped a low 25-yard free-kick through the defensive wall and the Pole got down sharply to parry the ball to safety. Steve Carr flashed a volley over from the ensuing corner.

Michael Owen, marked so well in the first half, showed great technique to pull a raking, 70-yard pass from Sami Hyypia, almost from box to box, out of the sky and lift it over Richards but Perry halted his progress and Steffen Freund nipped in to take the ball away.

Salif Diao came closest to breaking the deadlock after 32 minutes, sliding an effort across Keller but inches wide, but the Senegalise midfielder was soon on the deck as Redknapp picked up a booking on his return.

Owen and most of Anfield thought Liverpool had opened the scoring minutes later but referee Mike Riley ruled it out for a foul by El-Hadji Diouf.

The final chance of the half fell to Poyet, who must have mistimed his header from close range from Redknapp's corner as the ball just fell to his feet, before he volleyed into Row X.

The second half stepped up a gear from the first minute, when Goran Bunjevcevic fired just wide, to the last, when three or four white shirts appealed for a penalty, claiming Jamie Carragher had handled.

Again, we looked composed and confident and our best chances arrived in the space of 60 seconds on the hour mark.

First, Keane's cunning pass inside, intended for Redknapp, fell to Poyet 15 yards out with just enough time to fire in left-foot shot. Dudek was equal to it though and diverted the shot inches wide of his left post.

Poyet was there again though straight from Redknapp's corner, climbing high to head what would have been a cracking goal until Hamann cleared off the line.

Play went straight down the other end as Baros, a livelier partner for Owen off the bench, found Owen in front of goal but his snapshot flashed over.

Always absorbing, the game was on a knife-edge when Liverpool struck.

It was right out of the top drawer as well. Liverpool kept hold of the ball but appeared to be going no-where when Murphy took over 25 yards out. He rolled the ball out of his feet, looked up and curled beyond Keller into the top right corner. It was almost slow motion, but perfection.

To our huge credit, we managed to get on terms. Milenko Acimovic had only been on for a minute when he teased in a cross from the left that Richards powered home from eight yards.

But then came Owen's moment of inspiration. Only four minutes remained when he picked the ball up on the left touchline. He had no support and there appeared little danger but the hotshot beat Perry for the first time and burst into the box, where he was met by Carr's lunge. It looked a clear-cut penalty and Owen picked himself up, planted the ball on the spot and tucked it home for the winner.

MINUTE-BY-MINUTE GUIDE TO THE ACTION

9mins: First half-chance as Owen lifted the ball over Richards in the area but Keller out smartly to collect.

17mins: First Spurs effort at goal, Keane shielded the ball well before turning away from Hyypia and shooting 18 yards out, ball deflected off Poyet and over.

22mins: SAVE. Dudek did well to parry Redknapp's 25-yard free-kick that zipped through the defensive wall. Carr then hit spectacular volley over from the deep corner.

25mins: Owen spectacularly pulled 70-yard pass from Hyypia down and inside Richards, ball moved to Diao but Freund nipped in to rob him. Good defending.

28mins: Keller out of his area to clear from Owen.

29mins: CLOSE. Carragher angled pass into Diao, right side of area, sliding effort across Keller went a fraction wide.

32mins: GOAL DISALLOWED. Diao into Owen, suddenly clear on goal 10 yards out, finished with aplomb but foul given for Diouf tugging shirt.

37mins: YELLOW. Redknapp for foul on Diao.

38mins: Poyet clear to meet Redknapp's corner but didn't seem to get hold of effort and then smashed loose ball into the stand.

43mins: YELLOW. Diao for foul on Keane.

Half-time: Liverpool 0-0 Spurs

46mins: CLOSE. Bunjevcevic dummied to shoot from 30 yards, bought by Riise, advanced another 10 yards before shooting low across Dudek and narrowly wide.

54mins: Liverpool break, Owen fed supporting Hamann but Perry magnificent block tackle to cut move short.

57mins: SUB. Baros for Diouf.

61mins: SAVE. Clever ball from Keane inside to Redknapp fell to Poyet, in space, 15 yards out, left foot shot superbly turned aside by agile Dudek.

61mins: OFF LINE. Poyet's header from Redknapp's corner cleared off the line by Hamann.

62mins: YELLOW. Carr for deliberate handball.

63mins: CLOSE. Baros slid pass into Owen, 18 yards out, snapshot a yard over.

67mins: SUB. Smicer for Gerrard.

71mins: GOAL. Out of nothing. Liverpool possession, ball rolled into Murphy, 25 yards out, looked up and curled it beyond Keller into the top right corner. 0-1.

73mins: YELLOW. Diao tackle, already booked, but Smicer shown yellow card.

75mins: SUB. Ferdinand for Sheringham.

79mins: SUB. Acimovic for Poyet.

81mins: GOAL. Acimovic magic down the left, stood up superb cross met powerfully by Richards, through Dudek and home from eight yards. 1-1.

85mins: PENALTY. GOAL. All about Owen. Picked up ball on his own, left hand touchline, 40 yards from goal. Ran at and beat Perry, into the box where Carr brought him down. Owen no mistake from spot. 1-2.

88mins: YELLOW. Richards for dissent.

90mins: SUB. Etherington for Redknapp.

Injury time. YELLOW. Freund for dissent.

Line-ups: Liverpool: Dudek, Hyypia, Diouf (Baros, 57), Owen, Murphy, Hamann, Gerrard (Smicer, 67), Riise, Diao, Carragher, Traore. Unused subs: Babbel, Kirkland, Cheyrou.

Spurs: Keller, Carr, Freund, Bunjevcevic, Perry, Sheringham (Ferdinand, 75), Redknapp (Etherington, 90), Keane, Davies, Richards. Unused subs: Acimovic, Hirschfeld, Gardner.